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Purple Mecca

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I came to Minneapolis for a conference almost forgetting that this was the home of Prince, musical genius (you could argue that with me–if you are a fool) and one of my all time favorite musicians and performers (you can Not argue that with me).

Paisley Park is actually a good distance from where I am staying but I really wanted to make the trek. I don’t know when I will get to Minneapolis again and I am still in shock about Prince’s sudden death. So in the manner of most modern  urban dwellers, I called über.

I did all my safety checks when the uber arrived. I checked the car make, model and tag number. Double checked the pic to make sure that I was getting into the right car. My driver was Abdullahi, a handsome and polite young man.

After a couple of random pleasantries, I told Abdullahi that, when we got to Paisley Park, I needed him to wait while I took pics. I wanted him to bring me back. He agreed, said it was fine. We started on our way. There was not much in the way of scenery once we got on the highway so again, in the manner of those in modern culture, I began checking my social media. All was fine once I had Abdullahi close the window that was pouring cold air into my Afro and asked him to turn down the loud old school R&B he had pounding through the speakers. I settled into the back seat with my seatbelt on. I was on my way to Prince’s house!

A few miles into the trip, Abdullahi took an exit and almost ran a red light. He jammed on brakes and threw me forward slightly. He looked at me guiltily in the rear view mirror but I was too deep into my anticipation of seeing Prince’s home to be annoyed.

Finally, there it was! Paisley Park. I was not prepared for the emotion of it all. We pulled up to the main entrance. I got out and walked along the fence taking pictures of all the moving tributes there.

I could feel the sorrow and sadness of the people who left momentos: purple candles, pictures, paintings, ribbons, a purple sequined sweater. At one spot, someone had made a makeshift alter. On the fence was an oil portrait of Prince with his famous third eye shades. Beneath was a small oriental rug. Flowers and wreaths swung sadly against the fence.   My über driver got out to smoke a cigarette. A security guard paced nervously near his car, parked to block the driveway.

I took pictures, as many as I could. I don’t think any of them really captured the feel of Paisley Park on that day. I just kept thinking about the time I had seen Prince perform. How he had effortlessly moved from impossible dance moves to playing incredible guitar riffs to singing his hit songs. The stage went from brightly lit to streams of purple light. Prince was full of life and humor. For much of the show, he seemed amused by some inside joke that we would never be able to understand. Most of all, he was full of energy. Now, that energy is gone from Paisley Park, from Minneapolis, from his fans around the world.

I finally got back into my uber, much to the relief of the security guard, and headed back to my hotel. Abdullahi got me back in one piece although he did stomp the brakes a couple of times. That trip to Paisley Park was phenomenal.   I’ll never forget it. And I will always remember that night I saw Prince dancing on that stage in the purple light.

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